Archive for May, 2011

Pinewood Studios – A Brief History

May 19, 2011

Pinewood Studios – A Brief History

Saw an article on Variety and just had to blog it about it (I’m not usually subject to this sort of spontaneous blogging) and this also seems to have coincided with me watching The Spy Who Loved Me, one of my favourite Bond films. 

I’m a big fan of anything to do with British cinema and film history (even my University dissertation was about British cinema in the 1930’s) so it’s great to see the piece below written on Pinewood Studios! See below for a snippet of the article and follow the link at the bottom to see the full and original chronology. Accompanying the chronology are two more articles which contain more information on Pinewood Studios, including an article entitled Sites on the future, and the lay of the land, an overview of Pinewood.

I’m hoping this short blog will also link to another one I will hopefully be writing over the summer about Pinewood and Shepperton, both amazing studios! Stay tuned and hope you enjoy!

From Liz to Bond and beyond

A look back on the history of Pinewood Studios

By AJ Marechal, Michelle Weiss, Ilyse Kaplan

Builder Charles Boot acquires Heatherden Hall, once the country home of Canadian financier Lt. Col. Grant Morden, and plans a film studio to rival Hollywood’s best. Industrialist J. Arthur Rank joins the £1 million project.
Rank, producer John Corfield and Henrietta Yule — founders of the British National Films Co. — become owner-operators of Pinewood. Yule would later sell her shares to Rank while Corfield would eventually resign from its board of directors.
Pinewood Studios opens. The keynote speech of Leslie Burgin, member of parliament, parliamentary secretary to the London Board of Trade, emphasizes the “British government’s interest in the progress of the British film industry” (Daily Variety, Oct. 15).
Pinewood Studios merges with Denham Film Studios, founded by producer Alexander Korda.
“Black Narcissus,” set high in the Himalayas but shot primarily at Pinewood, is the first of two masterpieces shot at the facility by the filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. They would later make “Red Shoes” (1948) there.

The rest of the article continues below on the Variety website!

From Liz to Bond and beyond – Entertainment News, Cannes Features, Media – Variety


Amiga: Emulation and Meditation

May 12, 2011
Amiga: Emulation…
A distinct lack of inspiration led to a very quiet April in terms of blogging! Still, inspiration and motivation sometimes come from the oddest of sources, in this case trying to get an Amiga emulator to work on my phone. After much fiddling (I’m not the savviest when it comes to modern technology) I finally got the damned thing to work.  I played The Great Giana Sisters and Hero Quest on the way into work this morning on the train and it felt awesome.
I managed to get it working on the Samsung Galaxy Portal Android, it runs pretty well, but is a bit twitchy in places and the controls only really work well with platformers. Still, seeing the Amiga load screen appear on my phone was awesome in itself. Compatibility is very temperamental in places and it remains a fine balance between this and performance – it seems one cannot have everything one wants in terms of both. I’ve opted for compatibility in order to play the widest range of games possible. Unfortunately, this makes some games hard to play as the frame rate can be pretty poor with the lower performance setting, slowing the games down no end. Even so, I for one am pleased someone has taken the time to even attempt to get a half decent Amiga emulator working for a phone, and one that only needs a few tweaks to make it even better.
However the rest of this blog was inspired by something else entirely. It came from the many games I tried to get working, and many times an old enemy reared its head once more!
… and Meditation
Imagine if you will, a dark and rainy Sunday afternoon. Hiding yourself indoors, away from the gloom, you sit down to play some of your favourite games. Flicking on the power, the green glow of the power light appears, and the bright white screen of ‘Amiga Workbench V1.3’ bathes you in a gentle light. As you rifle through your disk box to find something to play you hear the clunk and whirr as the disk drive awaits your most treasured game. Selection made, you ready yourself for an afternoon of gaming… or so you thought, and then this appears…
Overly dramatic and full of clichés but probably a scene most Amiga fans are familiar with from their childhood, and indeed to this day.
Above shows the ‘Software Failure’ error, which I think speaks for itself. It is a common error I experienced (and still do) on a lot of the games and software I used, occuring when a disk had become corrupted generally leaving it unusable. The error pictured above appeared after trying to load Magicland Dizzy on an emulated Amiga 500 for my phone (setting up my actual Amiga 500 on the train proving problematic). Luckily, these things fascinate me more than annoy me these days, and you’ll also be pleased to know that no disks where harmed in the making of this post, although many in the past have fallen to this dreaded screen.
I always feared this black screen of doom, with its red flashing box and red text, as it usually spelt the end for the game or piece of software being used. You hoped it would never happen to a favourite game, but alas, sometimes it did (my original copy of Moonstone fell to this). It was a fair warning from your Amiga that something wasn’t right, and had pretty much refused to go any further with its operations. To this day I still do not fully understand these errors (maybe someone reading this can shed a little more light?) but I did find a few things on the interweb, where some people have already decided to try to explain it. See the links below!
As well as the software failure error,  the Amiga also generated ‘Guru Meditation’, which I think related more to hardware issues than software (that’s a guess by the way), with a further explanation here.  Hope this has been a little bit informative, and a trip down memory lane, nicely summed up by Retro Collect below!
“That shouldn’t be a good memory, but we cannot help but smile at the dreaded Commodore Amiga Red Bar of Death!”